– Charles Spurgeon
Setting the Pattern
What I discovered while I was still young was that when you get a new puppy, you had better start training them early because if you wait too long, their pattern is set. Adults, like children, don’t like to have their routines changed, so if you start early with children and give them your expectations and consequences for not following your expectations ahead of time, then they know what to expect. Children might not tell you, but they need structure, and discipline is certainly that.
Knowing the Boundaries
Most of us are good drivers, but the local authorities still put up guardrails and draw lines on the highway. These serve as boundaries and the highway department wants us to know that if we cross these boundaries, we could get hurt or hurt someone else. Being a driver on the highway, I like boundaries, because they save lives, even my own. In the same way, let children know that there are boundaries that they are not allowed to cross over, and if they do, automatic consequences will be the result. Tell them that the boundaries are there for their own good.
Feeling the Consequences
I touched on this earlier, but if you don’t have consequences, then you don’t have discipline. The Bible teaches that discipline show loves. The author of Hebrews wrote, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb 12:6) so “God is treating you as sons” and daughters (Heb 12:7). Tell this to your children and grandchildren. Tell them that disciplining shows that you care for them and for their welfare. The one who disciplines is the one who loves.
Pay Now or Pay Later
It’s so easy to put off changing the oil in your car, especially if you can’t afford it, but if you don’t pay to have it done today, you’ll have to pay later…and much more than you’ll have to pay today. If we don’t discipline our children and grandchildren early, then the things they do as young adults will be far costlier than “no Internet for a week.” It’ll be 90 days in the county jail, or far worse, they could end up in prison.
Read again the wisdom of Charles Spurgeon: “If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up.” Isn’t that true? We all need to learn to set the pattern for what children are expected to do; to know there’ll be penalties for crossing over the boundaries or breaking the rules; they’ll have to face the consequences of their actions; and parents should realize, it’s pay now or pay later, but you might have to pay much more when it’s later.